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Dra;ns are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing extremely large, typically scaly, bodies; they are sometimes portrayed as having large eyes, a feature that is the origin for the word for dra;n in many cultures, and are often (but not always); portrayed with wings and a fiery breath. Some dra;ns do not have wings at all, but look more like long snakes. Dra;ns can have a variable number of legs: none, two, four, or more when it comes to early European literature. Modern depictions of dra;ns are very large in size, but some early European depictions of dra;ns were only the size of bears, or, in some cases, even smaller, around the size of a butterfly.

Although dra;ns (or dra;n-like creatures); occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have varying stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dra;n label. Chinese dra;ns and Eastern dra;ns generally, are usually seen as benevolent, whereas European dra;ns are usually malevolent (there are of course exceptions to these rules);. Malevolent dra;ns also occur in Persian mythology and other cultures.

Dra;ns are particularly popular in China. Along with the phoenix, the dra;n was a symbol of the Chinese emperors. Dra;n costumes manipulated by several people are a common sight at Chinese festivals.

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